A teen girl was charged this week in Washington state with second-degree murder and accused of laughing after intentionally hitting a jogger in July with the car she was driving without permission, officials said.
The 15-year-old suspect, who was also charged on Tuesday with hit-and-run, drove a Toyota Camry July 8 into long-distance runner Greg Moore, according to a report from the King County Sheriff’s Office. Moore’s body was found hours later in a ditch, the report said.
NBC News generally does not name minors accused in crimes. King County court records show she is charged as a juvenile.
The teen took the Camry without permission from her godmother, the sheriff’s report said. She was driving with a friend the morning of Moore’s death. The suspect’s younger sister told a detective last week her older sibling and friend who was a passenger, “Were laughing about it, the way he flew over the car,” the report said.
Moore, 53, was from Maple Valley, a city about 30 miles southeast of Seattle.
The suspect’s friend told a detective, according to the report, that the driver told her, “I’m going to scare him, I’m going to bump him,” and was driving about 50 mph when the Camry struck Moore. He suffered a fractured skull, according to the sheriff’s report.
The teen pleaded not guilty in juvenile court on Wednesday, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. She was in custody Friday at a juvenile detention center, an office representative said.
Moore’s widow, Michelle, told NBC affiliate KING in Seattle, she fears the juvenile may only serve a few years in jail because she is a minor.
“I’m feeling like she’s likely to get away with murder," said Michelle Moore. "If she serves, you know, less than six years, that’s getting away with it in my book. It makes me sick."
King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg said in statement this week, state law provides little wiggle room to try the suspect as an adult. He called Moore’s death an “unimaginable tragedy.”
“The girl was 15 years old at the time of the offense. She has no prior arrests. The laws of our state presume that a child this age must be prosecuted in juvenile court. The only legal mechanism for having her tried as an adult would be for a judge to make very specific legal determinations. As it stands, the facts and circumstances of this case do not legally permit her transfer to adult court.”
According to the sheriff’s report, investigators didn’t identify a suspect until the teen’s godmother came forward on Sept. 7. The woman told authorities her daughter may have been involved in the hit-and-run while driving her Toyota Camry, the sheriff’s report said.
When detectives examined the vehicle, they said headlight pieces found on scene July 8 appeared to match a broken headlight on the Camry. The car’s bumper was also dented, per the report.
The suspect’s godmother said the teen initially said someone took a bat to her car. Police spoke to the suspect’s sister, and the passenger witness, after the woman spoke to investigators.
The suspect turned herself in Sept. 9, the sheriff’s report said.